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Monday, December 30, 2013

Ta-da! The New Me!

Thank goodness it's almost New Year's Day. I don't think I could bear to lug these flabby thighs and wobbly gut around with me much longer. So looking forward to their instant disappearance as 2014 begins! And really, my work habits have gotten so slack and slovenly these last few, well, years, that they too will benefit from a resolution or two. And shouldn't my finances match my new abs?

Up early, teeth brushed, bills paid and neatly filed, maybe take a run. Shower. Wear shoes. Eat greens. Greet the day with a big smile. Then type! type! type! That will be 2014.

Before you assume that I make the same resolutions every year, I'd like to point out that these things evolve slowly.

My earliest recollection of making New Year's resolutions dates to middle school when I resolved to 1) run away from home and become world famous; 2) learn to re-inhale my cigarette smoke through my nose; and 3) get Mike Humphrey to fall hopelessly in love with me, and then treat him like dirt.

My high school resolutions expanded beyond simply not being caught by my parents to not getting caught by any other armed or unarmed authority figure. I resolved 1) not to leave my purse in cars when hitchhiking (this resolution came after one helpful driver called my house and told my parents of my purse's whereabouts); and 2) that if I was ever again caught smoking dope at the park with Boogie Greenberg, I would not helpfully grab and hide his pipe.

Come the college years, New Year's resolutions concerned 1) not getting pregnant; 2) not waiting until the last night of the semester to read the assigned textbooks; and 3) showing up on time — or at least awake, sober and fully clothed — for my 9 a.m. class.

As a young wife and mother, I went on to ignore an ever more sophisticated, if less edgy, crop of resolutions. I resolved not to sing scary songs to my children at bedtime, even if it seemed funny at the time, and not to throw all my husband's dirty underwear in the garbage no matter how many times in a row I'd been stuck with the laundry.

Of course, many New Year's resolutions demand a last hurrah.

It might be one more go at the racetrack or craps table, or a bittersweet, drug-enhanced fling with a stranger before giving it all up for the new year. Some folks need to indulge in the robbing of a final bank for closure, or feel compelled to loot and burn one last village for old times' sake. Others just need to run a few more red lights before midnight.

It's been years since I've required that parting carton of Kools before the annual New Year's Eve Quit. But I can't say that this year won't demand one last deep-fried, chocolate, whipped-cream, buttery, pig-out, with my pants unsnapped.

Then I'll press the magic 2014 Refresh Button and, like a reverse Cinderella, the stroke of midnight will transform me into the patient, disciplined, tactful, competent, enlightened, slim and healthy woman I've always meant to be!

I will awaken on New Year's Day cheerful and perky, signed up for another go with Curves and Weight Watchers, along with Yoga Booty, tai chi, pole-dancing, stretch-boxing, vegan cooking, meditation and scenic water color!

I'll tidy the office and give the bathroom a New Year's scrub, while flossing my teeth and doing kegels. Then, I'll call my parents and roll nary an eye as they repeat the same three questions on loop.

I'll pay the rapt, adoring attention of a newlywed bride as my husband goes into excruciating detail about his work. Then I'll cheerfully scrape up the enormous turds dropped around the yard by the long-term-visiting daughter's enormous dog without making mention of said daughter's laziness. I'll happily open the wallet without comment for the unemployed son. Then, most difficult by far, I'll resist the urge to send my agent the daily, petulant, nag-o-gram regarding my latest book manuscript.

No, wait! I won't have to "resist the urge" because the New Year's Me will be free of such old-year urges! All that evil inner chatter will have been effortlessly hushed. Ah! to no longer feel the call to nag, or criticize, or sulk, or be tempted by pie or potato chips! This must be what they mean by a happy and peaceful new year.

xo Amy,0,1499350.story#ixzz2p6f6Xwdz,0,1499350.story#axzz2p1cXU1IA

Thursday, December 19, 2013

A Three Alarm Night

Three car alarms are going off on the street. They don't blend and are not playing well together. Maybe it is the work of merry holiday pranksters, or malicious elves. Maybe some clumsy neighbor staggering home drunk, ricocheted off the cars, oops! oops! oops! 

Or, maybe it is an earthquake, the beginning of the end --- what we Californians on the fault line call: The Big One.

The dogs find it inspiring, and have joined in the holiday carol. 
Diamond, the pit-bull, goes, AROOO!
Little Guy is delivering his uniquely irritating, staccato, relentless, sanity-eroding yip.
Wally the poodle-mutt is on cow bell. 

I hope the dogs and I are not about to plummet, yipping and barking, to the molten center of the earth -- with a ghastly, three- siren accompaniment.

It never occurred to me that the end could have such a crappy sound track. 

One car alarm, maybe. The approaching semi-reassuring wail of an ambulance, a few on- lookers shrieking, maybe someone crying... But a cacophony of discordant alarms is way too... well, alarming.

Grim mid-December thoughts as we skim past the 25th anniversary of my friend Lisa Endig's death. Hers was quiet. Didn't have anything to do with alarms, except the ones going off between my ears. Early morning on a living room couch on a quiet Santa Monica street. Maybe some traffic sounds outside, maybe birds. All I really recall is the lengthening silence between her breaths.

Ah! The sirens have stopped. We've been spared. 

In the quiet that the sirens leave behind, the dogs return to licking their butts and watching me for signs of snack-happenings, and I re-notice the sounds of rain. 

I'd forgotten the rain! Even forgot all about the double rainbow I saw earlier on my drive home. But now, I'm glad to remember, glad The Big One has been postponed, and glad for the chance to wish us all, in these last few weeks of the year, a pleasant sound track, stable ground, and many continuing breaths, in and out.

lots of love,

Sunday, December 1, 2013


My dears, Forgive me for re-posting this oldie, but the feelings have not changed with the years. xo Amy

I, Curmudgeoness Koss, am glad we got all that thankfulness out of our systems, as there is no math more cloying than the counting of blessings. It is not that I don’t see how amazingly lucky we are. I do. 
  • We’re lucky to be ALIVE and healthy and more or less conscious and intact and housebroken. 
  • We’re lucky to be alive NOW after the good folks before us took care of the messier aspects of inventing pie, and e-mail and deodorant and elevators. 
  • We’re lucky to be alive HERE where we are free to believe, write about, wear, eat, and say pretty much whatever asinine thing pops into our addled little minds, as evidenced by this blog.
  • All that is a great start, but it always seems like underneath all the warm fuzzy thankfulosity lurks an under-tone of bargaining; The assumption that if we act really grateful it’ll stall worse crap from descending. See Fate? How fun it is to do good things for us? See how grateful we are? (and worthy) 

  • But the real issue about all this thanks-giving is its implication that the job is done, mission accomplished with no room for improvement. 
  • Let's Talk Turkey -- photo by Marla
  • Call it greedy, but I want more. Just because I’ve got a house doesn’t mean the world can check housing off its list of problems. And just because I can eat like a pig doesn’t mean we don’t have a ways to go before hunger is no longer an issue. 
Let's just hope more of us have more to be thankful for by next Thanksgiving.